La befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte, con la scopa di saggina: viva viva la nonnina!
This is an old rhyme everybody in Italy knows but, in case you came to Riva del Garda, you will find out that isn’t precisely the truth. The old lady who hands out sweets for the good ones, and coal for the cheeky monkeys, doesn’t come on her broomstick but rather from the Lake Garda waters, to show herself to the numerous visitors flocking to Piazza III Novembre in Riva del Garda on January, the 6th.
A tradition known as the Befana Subacquea (Underwater Befana), it is repeated every year because the habits entrenched in the common memory must be kept. And if for the rest of the world the old lady arrives during the night flying on a broomstick, here in Garda Trentino she comes out as a brave scuba diver to highlight, once more, the indissoluble bond this territory has with the waters of Italy’s biggest lake. After all, Lake Garda is a point of reference for us. The Befana should have thought the same, because she has preferred to come out from the waters rather than riding her broomstick packed with gifts and coal!
Befana Subacquea programme
In Riva del Garda the Befana doesn’t run away after having accomplished her “hard work”. She is staying all afternoon long with some great entertainment, games, music and celebrations until late afternoon! From 10 am to 5 pm there will be in fact educational workshops, outdoor games, bands playing merry music and lots of tidbits!
While you are waiting for the Befana to come, you could taste the typical products prepared by the restauranteurs at the Villaggio del Gusto “Di Gusto in Gusto” You will also find carne salada, home brews, exquisite wines and some menus for the little ones, of course!
As for me, waiting for the Befana I’ve already hung the stocking around the fireplace as the tradition says… hoping not to find just coal!